Cleveland City Board Of Education Approves 10 Percent Budget Cut; 2% Raises Eliminated

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - by Tony Eubank
Pictured from left to right are Dr. Martin Ringstaff, Board Chairman Tom Cloud and Peggy Pesterfield
Pictured from left to right are Dr. Martin Ringstaff, Board Chairman Tom Cloud and Peggy Pesterfield

The Cleveland City School Board on Monday, faced with lower revenues, approved a 10 percent cut in the upcoming 2014-2015 general fund budget.

Business Manager Brenda Carson said the adjustments are necessary because the incoming tax revenue is under what was projected, as the amount of sales and property tax collected is down this year. Director of Cleveland City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff said, “Budgets are in trouble across the state.”

Dr. Ringstaff also said that, while cutting personnel is a last resort, he did inform system principals that if there is another bad year, that personnel reductions may have to come into play. The cuts to the budget also mean that the planned two percent across the board raise for the entire staff of Cleveland City Schools will be eliminated. Business Manager Carson said that these cuts are a must because if the budget is not balanced this year it will “create a snowball effect” and eventually spiral out of control.

Cleveland City Schools Technology Supervisor Andrew Phillips presented to the board a plan for a digital conversion pilot program. The program includes updating the existing technology infrastructure and the use of more digital content by having students and teachers make more use of laptops, tablets, and other devices.

Other aspects of the program include the purchase of digital textbooks and more professional development for the teachers involved.  Mr. Phillips stated that the digital content will still be backed up by books. Dr. Ringstaff added that textbooks are no longer the main teaching resource - that they are just one of many tools at a teacher's disposal, “Textbooks are no longer the driving force in the classroom,” said Dr, Ringstaff.

The program is being implemented in Cleveland Middle school’s social studies classes, as  next year is the year for new books in social studies and the classes under the social studies umbrella include a relatively small amount of classes when compared to math and language arts courses.

Several board members had questions about student access to the technology needed for the classes. Mr.  Phillips said the school has already purchased two computer carts with funds provided by a Race to the Top grant, and officials intend to purchase new computers every year in order to prepare for future needs. Dr. Ringstaff said, “I’m fully behind this, I think it’s time to jump off the diving board into the future.”

The Board approved the pilot program, along with a proposal to build some additional security fencing around Cleveland Middle school.

The board also received an update from Brian Templeton of the Upland Design Group, on the new gym project. Mr. Templeton announced that phase one is right on track and that the second phase should begin on schedule. Mr. Templeton said that he has completed the design and it has been approved by the fire marshal. There will also be a mandatory meeting held on Thursday for interested contractors to take a look at the site and ask questions about the project. This will be followed by open bidding on May 1. The board also approved paying $36,607.90 to Upland Design Group for its work on the new elementary school project. 


New Chattanooga Railroad Book Will Feature 69 Chapters

A new book on Chattanooga's intriguing railroad history to be published by Chattanoogan.com will feature 69 chapters and cover rail history here and in surrounding towns. Railroads In and Around Chattanooga is due to be off the presses around the first of October. The book by Chattanoogan.com publisher John Wilson, with many photos by Chattanoogan.com photographer Wes ... (click for more)

East Ridge High School Football Field North Stands Condemned; Next Home Game To Be Moved

The main stands at the East Ridge High School football stadium have been condemned. The field was being used for pee wee football on Saturday, but the north section was roped off for safety purposes. Fans at the games were watching from metal bleachers on the opposite side. Officials said some fans had complained about the condition of the old concrete facility, including ... (click for more)

DWT Is DUI

A routine narrative of a DUI arrest report goes something like this:   The defendant was operating a motor vehicle in the 00 block of sonsoroad. The driver was weaving back and forth across the marked roadway. The defendant drove through a stop sign. Was stopped at an intersection despite the traffic light was green. Entered the lane of another vehicle and caused a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What Voters Think

There are over 9,000 students who attend Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., which – in an effort to be relative -- is just a touch smaller than our UT-Chattanooga. What makes Quinnipiac unique is that it is home of The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which produces what’s called the “Q Poll” because hardly anybody knows how to pronounce “Kwin-uh-pe-ack.” The Q ... (click for more)

Ellington, Bell Win First Running Of Jasper Highlands 5K

  JASPER, Tenn. – The Chattanooga Track Club introduced its newest race on Saturday as the inaugural running of the Jasper Highlands 5K was held high atop the Cumberland Plateau.   Advertised as “the most scenic community in Marion County,” Knoxville’s Stewart Ellington put his name on the list as the first winner by covering the rolling 3.1-mile distance in 16 ... (click for more)

Baylor Sweeps Two Nashville Teams In Volleyball Saturday

Volleyball teams from Brentwood Academy and Pope John Paul II have at least one thing in common on Saturday following matches with Baylor and GPS.  They both headed back to Nashville with a win and a loss as both beat GPS and both lost to Baylor. Baylor improved to 13-1 overall and 3-0 in region play with Saturday's two wins, including a 3-1 verdict over Brentwood ... (click for more)